The Great End of the Church
While most folks think that the school year has ended and next year is a summer away, schools have been planning for next year since probably Christmas. There is lots of stuff to do and we can’t wait until July to get started on it.
One of the things I was working on a few weeks back was some paperwork about Professional Development for our teachers. As part of the paperwork to justify our requests, I had to determine which of our school board’s major system priorities would be impacted and improved through each training.
While part of me gets frustrated with the tedious nature of this task, I also totally get why we do it. Because if what we are doing at the school is not meeting the priorities of our school board—the goals and objectives that board members have determined to be what our schools need to have a successful educational system—we shouldn’t do it. If we did those things that do not align with our district’s priorities, we would in actuality be wasting the resources (tax $) given to us by the community.
I don’t know if you are aware, but the Book of Order of the Presbyterian Church (USA) also lists major system priorities for the church. Actually, they are called The Great Ends of the Church…and they have been beaten into my head since I was a child. My dad often referred to them in worship. They are as follows:
F-1.0304 The Great Ends of the Church
The great ends of the Church are:
the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind;
the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God;
the maintenance of divine worship;
the preservation of the truth;
the promotion of social righteousness; and
the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world
As a church we shouldn’t be about anything unless it meets one of those statements. This means we must be intentional in our decision making.
It doesn’t mean that we are not able to do fun and creative things. In fact, I think it is imperative for the church to do fun and creative things…BUT they are not done just to have a good time, but also to exhibit how we live as a family of faith in fellowship together.
Perhaps a story will make it clear as mud.
When I did youth ministry, the Youth Committee would sit down and make a calendar of events. Events like swim parties and bowling and putt-putt and white water rafting would be on the list as possibilities for the group to do. I was not opposed to any of these events as long as the white water rapids weren’t Category 5 death traps. However, I would always ask the group planning the activities what purpose the events served and if they aligned with the ministy we were trying to provide these young people. If so, how would the participants of the events know their purpose?
Most of the time it was clear that these events did meet our ministry plans. They were for nurture and fellowship of the children of God. We also made sure each event included activities like group-building games to get to know one another or time of prayer or a time of study or devotion. (Yes, even at a pool party.)
The point was that while these types of events were definitely lots of fun, they were not just created for the sake of fun. We were there as God’s chosen people and thus called to a different purpose (a Greater End you might say.)
This weekend is a big weekend in the Lafayette community. There is thing called the Honeybee Festival. We are participating in the activities, and I hope it will be fun. I hope it will give the church some positive exposure. I hope the weather will be a little cooler than it is today.
But I also hope we will remember WHY we are doing it.
It is for helping fulfill things like the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind and the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.
It is about letting people know that we are disciples of Christ, and we invite them to join us as we strive to serve God and love God’s people. We hope they will know we believe that all are welcome, we are striving to follow the risen Christ, and we be a community that is known for hospitality to all. A place where Love Matters Most.
So, let’s have fun this weekend. Let’s laugh and eat stuff that perhaps we shouldn’t. Bring some lawn chairs and maybe a handheld fan. Bring a smile and a willingness to greet the stranger and let them know we are glad they are dropping by. We will have water bottles and music and stuff for people to take selfies and AC if they need a place to cool off. And we will have each other’s company to enjoy. And in the midst of it all, I think Jesus will be among us and God will be proud that LPC is living out the Great Ends we proclaim in both word and more importantly actions.
Blessings - Clay
Please continue to prayer for Louise Burton (Clay’s grandmother)
Please pray for Teri Hall who has been diagnosed with lymphoma.
Please pray for Heather Holloway, Glenda’s daughter, as she recovers from back surgery.
Please pray for Toni Autello who is recovering from a severe sinus and throat infection.
Please pray for Rob Lamborn as he heals from a melanoma tumor inside his eye.
Please pray for Sue Shuford, a family friend of Richard Carlton’s. She is facing major back surgery due to osteoporosis and RA damage to her T12. A date has not yet been scheduled for surgery.
From Friends Feeding Friends: Please pray for Charlotte Arnold who has a spot on her lung.
Please keep Suzy Smith in your prayers as she copes with cancer. (submitted by Jane Shelton)
Please keep Matt Degutes and his family in your prayers. He was a neighbor of Richard and Ray’s and his daughter and family live here. He had surgery recently and will be undergoing chemotherapy.
Please keep Phil Shelton and his family in your prayers as Phil recovers from a stroke.
Please pray for Richard’s brother, Michael Carlton, who recently had a kidney transplant.
Pray for Jessica Forester who is stationed near Dallas, TX.
Please pray for Steven and the Denson Family.
Please continue to pray for all those in our church family with special needs: Bob Lamborn, Zee Martin, Toni Autullo, Harold Wilson, Melissa, and Walter.